Music

Grupo Firme to Headline NFL Halftime Show in Mexico

The popular Mexican regional group Grupo Firme recently announced that they’ll be headlining the halftime show at the NFL’s fifth and final international game of 2022. After three games in London and one in Munich, the NFL is taking the 49ers and Cardinals to face off at Mexico’s Estadio Azteca.

This isn’t the first time Mexico has hosted an NFL game, nor is it the first time these two teams have played at Estadio Azteca. The upcoming game is a reunion more than 17 years in the making after the 49ers and Cardinals played each other in the same stadium in 2005. The NFL has hosted other games since then, including the Raiders vs the Texans in 2016 and then the Raiders against the Patriots in 2017.

Grupo Firme’s performance at the halftime show follows an eight-city, nine-show stadium tour that ran from May until September of this year. The performance also comes exactly one year after Grupo Firme won their first Latin Grammy in 2021 for Best Banda Album. They even played at Canelo Álvarez‘s daughter’s birthday party in October of this year.

The NFL’s attempts to attract a more international audience go further than inviting Grupo Firme to perform at the halftime show. An official press release from late last week announced an upcoming mixtape called “Por La Cultura: Volume 1” with features from Anthony Ramos, El Alfa, Trueno, and more.

With 30 million Latinos in the United States alone, the NFL is working overtime to attract potential fans who may have otherwise felt left out of a sport that lacks Latino representation and is overall not one of the more popular sports within the Latin American diaspora, even if the tide is beginning to turn.

According to a 2019 report from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, of the NFL’s 1657 players, only eight of them are Latino. To make matters worse, there is only one Latino head coach in the entire NFL, Ron Rivera, who has been coaching the Commanders since 2020.

Reaction to the news of Grupo Firme’s halftime show was…mixed, to say the least. Although the top comment on the group’s post is “Que Chingoneria” with fire emojis, quite a few people took to the comments to express their displeasure with the decision. “Please tell me it’s fakenews don’t ruin Monday Night like this,” wrote one commenter, while another complained, “They already wasted the half time.”

Some of the comments on the post were downright nasty, with one person writing, “Are you serious? Does this represent us? were there no better singers? Well no way we will have to endure them in the Azteca.” It seems like many are upset about Grupo Firme’s upcoming performance because of lyrics some consider to be “violent, misogynist” lyrics, according to a tweet.

One of the top comments on Grupo Firme’s original Instagram post clapped back at some of the less enthusiastic responses in the thread, reading, “And these comments only prove that the enemy of a Mexican is another Mexican…”

Whether these outspoken detractors are genuinely upset or just want something to complain about on the internet, there are plenty of fans who are excited to see the six-piece Mexican regional band take the stage next Monday.

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